Israeli occupation authorities have permitted large pharmaceutical firms to experiment on PalestinianÂ prisoners, and have been testing weapons on Palestinian children, a Hebrew University professor disclosed in a recent lecture series.Â
by Kathryn Shihadah
An Israeli professor disclosed in a recent lecture series at Columbia University that Israeli authorities have permitted large pharmaceutical firms to experiment on PalestinianÂ prisoners, and have been testing weapons on Palestinian children.
Professor Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian, the Lawrence D. Biele Chair in Law at Israelâs Hebrew University, also presented in Amsterdam in January on the same topic.
Promotional material for the events describe her lecture as illustrating through âthe voices and writings of Jerusalemite children who live under Occupationâ that Israelâs practices of âsurveying, imprisoning, torturing, and killing can be used as a laboratory for states, arms companies, and security agencies to market their technologies as âcombat proven.ââ
Shalhoub-Kevorkianâs presentation was based on data she gathered for a research project for the university. The work, titled Arrested Childhood in Spaces ofÂ Indifference: The Criminalized Children of Occupied East Jerusalem, was published in the Canadian Journal of Women and the LawÂ in 2018 and co-authored byÂ Shahrazad Odeh, who is also on the Faculty of Law and Institute of Criminology at Hebrew University.
In the article, the authors demonstrate how Israelâs policy of targeting Palestinian children and childhood through the criminal justice system is fundamental to the stateâs mechanism of colonial dispossession. They shed light on the critical role that the Israeli legal system plays in the stateâs âracist project.â
Drug experiments on Palestinian prisoners
Shalhoub-Kevorkian revealed in her lecture at Columbia University that Israeli occupation authorities issue permits to large pharmaceutical firms, which then carry out tests on Palestinian prisoners.
Telesur recalls that as far back as July 1997,
Israeli newspaperÂ Yedioth AhronothÂ reported remarks for Dalia Itzik, chairman of a parliamentary committee, acknowledged that the Israeli Ministry of Health had given pharmaceutical firms permits to test their new drugs of inmates, noting that 5,000 tests had already been carried out.
The recent, well-publicized incident of the death of an Israeli prison inmate, Palestinian Fares Baroud, raised suspicions that he may have been a test subject. Israeli authorities refused to relinquish the body. Baroud suffered from a number of illnesses.
Weapons testing for profit
Shalhoub-KevorkianÂ also pointed out that Israeli military firms test weapons on Palestinian children in the Palestinian neighborhoods of occupied East Jerusalem.
âPalestinian spaces are laboratories,â she explained. âThe invention of products and services of state-sponsored security corporations are fueled by long-term curfews and Palestinian oppression by the Israeli army,â andÂ âIsraeli security industry [is] using them as showcasesâ to boost security technologies and weapon sales in the global market.
Hebrew University response
The Hebrew University of Jerusalem distanced itself fromÂ Shalhoub-Kevorkianâs claims, releasing a statement,
The views expressed by Prof. Nadera Shalhoub-Kevorkian donât represent or express in any way the views of the Hebrew University or the university administration, but are her personal opinion that reflect only her views.
Nadera Shalhoub-KevorkianÂ is the Lawrence D. Biele Chair in Law at the Faculty of Law-Institute of Criminology and the School of Social Work and Public Welfare at the Hebrew University of Jerusalem and a Global Chair in Law at Queen Mary University of London. Her research focuses on law, society, and crimes of abuse of power.Â Â She studies the crime of femicide and other forms of gendered violence, crimes of abuse of power in settler colonial contexts, surveillance, securitization and social control, and children, trauma, and recovery in militarized and colonized zones. Dr. Shalhoub-Kevorkian is a criminologist and specialist in human rights and womenâs rights.
Shalhoub-Kevorkianâs most recent book is entitled: Security Theology, Surveillance and the Politics of Fear,â published by Cambridge University Press. She also authored âMilitarization and Violence Against Women in Conflict Zones in the Middle East: The Palestinian Case Studyâ published by Cambridge University Press, 2010. She has published articles in multi-disciplinary fields includingÂ British Journal of Criminology, International Review of Victimology, Feminism and Psychology, Middle East Law and Governance, International Journal of Lifelong Education, American Behavioral Scientist Journal,Â Social Service Review,Â Violence Against Women,Â Journal of Feminist Family Therapy: An International Forum,Â Social Identities,Â Social Science and Medicine, Signs,Â Law & Society Review, and more. As a resident of the old city of Jerusalem, Shalhoub-Kevorkian is a prominent local activist. She engages in direct actions and critical dialogue to end the inscription of power over Palestinian childrenâs lives, spaces of death, and womenâs birthing bodies and lives.
Kathryn Shihadah is staff writer for If Americans Knew. She blogs atÂ Palestine Home.Â